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Old 11-20-2007, 12:08 PM   #1
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Egg Whites and Cast Iron

I see that cast iron cooking has been covered quite a bit but I can not figure out what I'm doing wrong.

When I cook egg whites they stick to the pan. Except one time when I just previously seasoned and cooled my pan and there was still solidified crisco in it.

I cook about 6-7 egg whites and they are not from real eggs but from the carton. I cook them on medium heat or just a little lower. I've seasoned my pan at least a dozen times. Sometimes I've seasoned it 3-4 times in a row, sometimes after cooking the egg whites and cleaning the pan. The pan is probably about 6 years old but hasn't been used much until recently. Until the past month or so most of the time it sat in the oven, not rusty, but just not used. I really believe that I've seasoned it more times that I've cooked with it.

To season it I've tried using crisco and put the pan in the oven at 350 for an hour and let it cool before use. I've tried seasoning it by putting in the oven for 250 for two hours and letting it cool. I've used solid crisco, safflower oil, olive oil, vegetable oil. When using crisco I usually grab the crisco from the freezer, take a knife and slice a chunk off. Then with my fingers just rub it all around. Put it in the oven for 350 for an hour and use it the next day. To clean the pan I have to take a hard rubber flipper/spatula and scrap the egg off. Sometimes I've let it soak to get the egg off, once I used a nylon vegetable brush.
The one time it worked I thought I'd gotten over the hump so when I was done I rinsed it out with water and let it sit on the stove a few minutes to dry and put a little more oil in for next time.

Egg whites are about the only thing I use it for.

Are egg whites from the carton acidic? Am I missing a step here? I'm about ready to start microwaving the eggs, which I hate because they get all rubbery. Not to mention my reputation with my wife is on the line. She doesn't like cast iron and I'm trying to convince her it'd be better in the long run but I'm losing this battle big time.

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Old 11-20-2007, 01:19 PM   #2
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Egg whites are about the only thing I use it for.
That's funny - about the only thing I use my non-stick skillet for is eggs. I use my cast iron skillet for taco meat, spaghetti sauce, searing, and a few other things. Sorry I don't have a suggestion for you.
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:44 PM   #3
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Why do you only use your cast iron for egg whites? You need to use the right tool for the right job. Can egg whites be cooked in cast iron? Yes they can, but it is much more difficult and you get no benefit from doing it that way vs using a non stick pan.
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:02 PM   #4
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I see. I'm just using the wrong type of pan.

To answer your question... we don't cook much meat that has naturally occurring fat in it and when we do it's usually my wife... that doesn't like cast iron. Our teflon pans are getting wore out and so I have been avoiding using them.

I've got Calphalon pans on order but they're a Christmas gift. I'll have to wing it until then.

Thanks for taking the time to answer.

Gary
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:04 PM   #5
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I perceive a benefit

Quote:
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... you get no benefit from doing it that way vs using a non stick pan.
I find both eggs & pancakes cooked in a non-stick skillet to have a mild leather-like (tough) texture to them.

When necessary, I only season cast iron with Crisco. Most other oils seem to leave a sticky residue.

Also, the skillet is seasoned in a HOT (450 degF or so) oven for a half hour or so. Be forewarned, Crisco smokes at the temperature. The skillet is allowed to cool in the oven.

Tom
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:06 PM   #6
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Until you get your new pans, just make sure you are using enough fat when you cook the eggs. That will help.
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by gctaylor View Post
I see. I'm just using the wrong type of pan.

To answer your question... we don't cook much meat that has naturally occurring fat in it and when we do it's usually my wife... that doesn't like cast iron. Our teflon pans are getting wore out and so I have been avoiding using them.

I've got Calphalon pans on order but they're a Christmas gift. I'll have to wing it until then.

Thanks for taking the time to answer.

Gary
Umm... when I fry meat I specifically reach for my cast iron.. Get it hot, a little oil and it works great. Trick is--get it hot first before adding oil...
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Old 11-23-2007, 01:41 PM   #8
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I cook eggs all the time in my cast iron. They never stick. I jsut heat the pan, add a bit of butter (healthier, believe it or not, than is crisco), and put in the egg. You do have to let the bottom set up completely before turning the egg, though I cook scrambled eggs in them all the time too. Just a little butter while the pan is hot, cook over medium heat, and you should have no problems. I never use non-stick cookwear, except when I pull out my electric griddle when making pancakes for a large group of people. Nothing sticks to my cast iron, not hash brownes, not beans, not eggs, not bacon, not meat. It's the most non-stick cookwear I own. And I use it daily.

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Old 11-24-2007, 08:28 PM   #9
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gctaylor,
I prepare scrambled eggs in a cast iron skillet, they don't stick. Do as the preceeding two postings say and you should be fine. When cleaning the pan, don't use soap or detergent, just pour hot water, let it sit there for a minute and run with a cellulose sponge. Dry the skillet by hand and even leave empty on a burner for a minute, rub a paper napkin with cooking oil and is ready for storage after cooling.
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Old 11-24-2007, 09:45 PM   #10
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I use the cast iron skillet to cook Egg Beaters, but I always spray the pan with a little Pam, otherwise mine would stick too.
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Old 11-28-2007, 09:02 PM   #11
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Seasoning a cast-iron pan doesn't do anything to make it non-stick. It simply places a gum on the pan so it doesn't corrode.

The secret to having eggs not stick to a non-non-stick surface is two things: oil and heat. You simply must have some oil and that oil must be pretty hot. Not burning, but definitely higher than low heat. I use 7/10 when doing eggs.

Yes, you'll have to use a decent amount of butter or fat. If you want to omit that, use a non-stick pan.

Why egg whites with no oil, btw? Cholesterol concerns? Are you a body builder?

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Old 11-28-2007, 09:14 PM   #12
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Seasoning a cast-iron pan doesn't do anything to make it non-stick. It simply places a gum on the pan so it doesn't corrode.
I have to strongly disagree with this. A well seasoned CI pan is as non stick if not more so than a used Teflon pan.
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Old 11-28-2007, 09:33 PM   #13
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I have to strongly disagree with this. A well seasoned CI pan is as non stick if not more so than a used Teflon pan.
We're probably talking about two different things, then. The process the OP mentioned is not going to create a non-stick surface on the first go around.

The famed cast iron pans, black from a generation of use, are fairly non-stick due to carbon build up. This happens in the same way a carbon steel wok becomes non stick.

My point was that it takes a relatively long time to make that happen and until that point oil and heat will be necessary. In fact, oil and heat are the very two things that keep and cast iron pan seasoned, anyway. How do you re-season a cast iron pan? Throw it in the oven covered in lard.

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Old 11-28-2007, 09:36 PM   #14
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Well I agree that it will not be non stick on the first go around and that it will take repeated use. I will also agree that heat and fat (doesn't have to be oil) are important as well.

It is not carbon build up that makes it non stick though. It is fat getting into the pours of the CI.
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Old 11-28-2007, 10:03 PM   #15
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Well, Stooxie - you only wind up with a gummy mess in the bottom of the pan if you don't season it properly. You rub the fat into the metal, wipe off the excess, and bake the pan upside down at high enough temp and for long enough ... you wind up with a nice hard dry surface. In time, the voids and peaks will be evened out and you have a very hard, slick surface.

No, seasoning is not a build-up of carbon. It is layers of polymerized fat that fuses first to the metal and then builds up by bonding one layer upon another. That's why you build a basic layer of "seasoning" and then fry food in it to build up the layers. You are, in fact, creating your own non-stick surface of natural edible fats ... one molecular layer at a time.
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Old 11-29-2007, 10:50 AM   #16
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I have used non-seasoned cast iron in my house after a proper seasoning and found a very good non-stick surface. I was concerned that a new Lodge frying pan that I had purchased would be a pain to use until the seasoning built enough to get rid of the grainy texture of the sand-cast metal. But after seasoning it, I just rubbed it before cooking with a bit of oil on a paper towel. I then placed my eggs, or whatever I was cooking, into the pan and prepared it as I usually do. The results surprized me. The pan was very easy to use, and almost nothing stuck to it, grainy texture or not. The pan is now smooth to the touch from a few years of cooking, and I still treat it the same way. I simply wipe the cooking surface with oil before cooking and nothing sticks. I only use more fat if I want to taste, say, butter in the food, or bacon fat, etc.

And, as a point of fact, non-stick pans recomend that you wipe a sheen of fat onto the pan before cooking. Sound familiar?

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Old 12-11-2007, 08:38 PM   #17
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My favorite way of cooking my eggs is in my cast iron pan. Of course it's been aged for over 50 years, but here's how I do it. I heat up the pan and put in just a little olive oil(probably no more that 1/2 t. ) I heat the pan until it just is starting to smoke, and then shut it off, and put in my 3-4 beaten eggs. Pull the sides of the eggs to the center while it cooks. They turn out beautifully and they NEVER stick. Of course that's just for 2 people.
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Old 12-12-2007, 11:06 AM   #18
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I LOVE my cast iron pans! I did some research and opted not to buy new Lodge cast iron. I bought a nice basic Griswold pan, a no. 8, on eBAY by a guy who listed it incorrectly so I got a really great deal on it. I later found a Wagner at a thrift store that I keep in the camper. Then I found another Wagner, a really big one, at the thrift store that I use at home. I use it everyday. I love it! I love those pans. They are made the old way without any roughness whatsoever. When I got them I stripped them down and reseasoned them. I hope I will be able to pass them down to my daughter.

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